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Before the NCAA Super Regionals, Texas A&M hopes to benefit from SEC play

The two games that led to elimination from the SEC Tournament after the regular season finale were perhaps the least impactful games of the year for the Texas A&M Aggies.

Their NCAA Tournament seeding was not at stake—they still had a solid third-place finish overall—and their overall record barely deteriorated, but they still lost two games in a row.

So why did it not seem to matter?

The answer lies amid all the conference games played from midseason to the Tennessee Volunteers' championship in Hoover, Alabama. The SEC had 11 teams in the top 25 and in the tournament. Five teams from the conference hosted, and all but one advanced.

The SEC played good baseball. Teams had to fight for wins and either team could have won the tournament title. This was mentioned by Braden Montgomery during the Aggies' preview press conference for their Super Regional matchup against the Oregon Ducks as a reason why he believes his team could have an advantage beyond the home opener.

“I think the biggest difference is the strength of the teams we've played against,” Montgomery said. “From the top to the bottom, the difference is bigger, whereas in the SEC, they like to talk about running the gauntlet. Every team really has a chance to beat every other team.”

“That's not to say that it's not like that in the Pac-12, there are just different levels.”

Texas A&M outfielder Braden Montgomery (6) catches a pop fly against the Tennessee Volunteers during the SEC tournament.

May 23, 2024; Hoover, AL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies outfielder Braden Montgomery (6) catches a pop fly against the Tennessee Volunteers during the SEC baseball tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. / Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

If his statement is true, the Aggies will not only get a win for themselves, but also for the conference, and their winless exit in Hoover will matter even less. But that is a If.

Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle quickly got his player under control.

“Make no mistake, Oregon is a team that is and has been in the top tier of the Pac-12,” Schlossnagle said in response to Montgomery. “That makes them … capable (of winning an SEC title).”

The coach praised Oregon and its strong lineup of pitchers – something he had already commented on in an interview earlier in the week – and, with the Aggies' starting lineup already set, went a step further and described their game plan for the bullpen.

“It's more like a normal weekend. You can't save a pitcher for Tuesday. You're trying to get two wins as quickly as possible, and if you have a chance to win a game, you have to do everything you can within reason to do that.”

It's safe to say the Aggies will give it their all if necessary. After all, a trip to Omaha is at stake.

Besides, they waited.

“We are ready to play,” said Schlossnagle. “We have waited a long time.”